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Snake Poems

Table of Contents

  1. A Snake by Emily Dickinson
  2. The Snake by Emily Dickinson
  3. Snake and its Young by James McIntyre
  4. The Rattlesnake by John Charles McNeill
  5. Little Johnny's Snakebite by Ed. Blair

  1. Sweet is the swamp with its secrets (A Snake)

    by Emily Dickinson

    Sweet is the swamp with its secrets,
    Until we meet a snake;
    'T is then we sigh for houses,
    And our departure take
    At that enthralling gallop
    That only childhood knows.
    A snake is summer's treason,
    And guile is where it goes.

  2. The Snake

    by Emily Dickinson

    A narrow fellow in the grass
    Occasionally rides;
    You may have met him, — did you not,
    His notice sudden is.

    The grass divides as with a comb,
    A spotted shaft is seen;
    And then it closes at your feet
    And opens further on.

    He likes a boggy acre,
    A floor too cool for corn.
    Yet when a child, and barefoot,
    I more than once, at morn,

    Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
    Unbraiding in the sun, —
    When, stooping to secure it,
    It wrinkled, and was gone.

    Several of nature's people
    I know, and they know me;
    I feel for them a transport
    Of cordiality;

    But never met this fellow,
    Attended or alone,
    Without a tighter breathing,
    And zero at the bone.

  3. Snake and its Young

    by James McIntyre

    There is a peculiar snake,
    You might almost call it squatter,
    It loves to dive in pond or lake,
    At home on either land or water.

    But it excited my good dog
    To see small snakes bask in the sun,
    Enjoying themselves on a big log,
    Near into where the water run.

    But their mother she was watching
    Her numerous brood on the log,
    She thought to them was danger hatching,
    When she beheld myself and dog.

    For she gave a hissing sound,
    All her offspring to awake,
    She ope'd her mouth and at a bound,
    Down her throat did rush each snake.

    I scarcely my own eyes could trust,
    To see those small snakes disappear,
    I really thought that she would burst,
    For the sake of her offspring dear.

    But I soon hid among the brakes,
    To view the young ones leave their prison,
    Will you believe this tale of snakes,
    If I did count right just four dozen.

  4. The Rattlesnake

    by John Charles McNeill

    Coiled like a clod, his eyes the home of hate,
    Where rich the harvest bows, he lies in wait,
    Linking earth's death and music, mate with mate.

    Is 't lure, or warning? Those small bells may sing
    Like Ariel sirens, poised on viewless wing,
    To lead stark life where mailéd death is king;

    Else nature's voice, in that cold, earthy thrill,
    Bids good avoid the venomed fang of ill,
    And life and death fight equal in her will.

  5. Little Johnny's Snakebite

    by Ed. Blair

    When we first com'd out here, we all
    Was awful scared o' snakes,
    Cause Uncle Si he set aroun'
    'N' kep' a tellin' fakes,
    'Bout great big rattlers that'd bite
    'N' reptil's thet crawled 'roun',
    Till we wuz all afraid almos'
    To walk upon the groun'.

    One day I was awadin' roun'
    Barefooted in the grass,
    Where it jes' growed so awful thick
    Thet I could hardly pass,
    When Zip! A sumthin' struck me,
    Right on my ankle there,
    'N' I jes' give 'n awful yell
    'N' jumped up in the air.

    'N' when I lit I started fer
    The house my level bes',
    'N' ma she'd heerd me yell 'n' she
    Was mighty quick to guess,
    What it was all about, 'n' 'fore
    She laid me on the bed,
    She bed my foot in turpentine
    'N' camphor on my head.

    'N' "Sis" she got a bluein' bottle
    Full o' lard 'n' oil,
    'N' popped it down into my throat
    Jes' hot enough t' boil.
    'N' pa he windbroke our old Ned
    A goin' after Doc,
    I guess our fam'ly ev'ry one
    Got sumpthin' uv a shock.

    'N' when the doctor come he looked
    Et wot was left o' me,
    'N' give another dose o' stuff
    That tasted! Hully Gee!
    D'y ever hav the ague?
    'N' hev t' take some stuff
    To keep from dyin'? Ef ye did
    Ye know et it was tough.
    But medicine for ague
    Is sugar plums to wot
    He made me swaller 'n' keep down—
    You bet I ain't fergot.

    'N' I jes' laid there scairt to death,
    A wondrin' if I'd die,
    'Nd swallerin ev'rything they brought,
    When pa 'n' Uncle Si
    They 'lowed the medicine was workin
    Awful good 'n' said
    They'd never rest until that orful
    Rattlesnake was dead.

    'N' so they went outside to fin'
    The rattlesnake, 'n' 'fore
    They'd been out there two minutes, we
    Heerd both of 'em jes' roar.
    'N' ma she rushed out fer to see
    'N' Uncle Si he said:
    "I guess ye better tell that boy
    To get right out of bed,
    Ther' ain't a blame thing wrong 'ith him,
    It was a settin' hen
    Thet pecked him on the ankle there."
    'N' then they roared again.

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